Australian lizards are outstanding models for reproductive biology research

Van Dyke, James U., Thompson, Michael B., Burridge, Christopher P., Castelli, Meghan A., Clulow, Simon, Dissanayake, Duminda S.B., Dong, Caroline M., Doody, J. Sean, Edwards, Danielle L., Ezaz, Tariq, Friesen, Christopher R., Gardner, Michael G., Georges, Arthur, Higgie, Megan, Hill, Peta L., Holleley, Clare E., Hoops, Daniel, Hoskin, Conrad J., Merry, Deirdre L., Riley, Julia L., Wapstra, Erik, While, Geoffrey M., Whiteley, Sarah L., Whiting, Martin., Zozaya, Stephen M., and Whittington, Camilla (2021) Australian lizards are outstanding models for reproductive biology research. Australian Journal of Zoology, 68 (4). pp. 168-199.

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Abstract

Australian lizards are a diverse group distributed across the continent and inhabiting a wide range of environments. Together, they exhibit a remarkable diversity of reproductive morphologies, physiologies, and behaviours that is broadly representative of vertebrates in general. Many reproductive traits exhibited by Australian lizards have evolved independently in multiple lizard lineages, including sociality, complex signalling and mating systems, viviparity, and temperature-dependent sex determination. Australian lizards are thus outstanding model organisms for testing hypotheses about how reproductive traits function and evolve, and they provide an important basis of comparison with other animals that exhibit similar traits. We review how research on Australian lizard reproduction has contributed to answering broader evolutionary and ecological questions that apply to animals in general. We focus on reproductive traits, processes, and strategies that are important areas of current research, including behaviours and signalling involved in courtship; mechanisms involved in mating, egg production, and sperm competition; nesting and gestation; sex determination; and finally, birth in viviparous species. We use our review to identify important questions that emerge from an understanding of this body of research when considered holistically. Finally, we identify additional research questions within each topic that Australian lizards are well suited for reproductive biologists to address.

Item ID: 70058
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1446-5698
Keywords: chemical communication, developmental biology, ecology, evolution, mating behaviour, reptile, sexual conflict, social behaviour, squamate
Copyright Information: © CSIRO 2020 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP210102267
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 02:41
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310903 Animal developmental and reproductive biology @ 35%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310907 Animal physiological ecology @ 35%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310403 Biological adaptation @ 30%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 70%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 30%
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